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Slow Cooker Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese
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Slow Cooker Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese

Slow Cooker Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese or mac and cheese is the best, easy, creamy, cheesy, comfort food using evaporated milk and a fantastic method!
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword best pasta, best slow cooker, cheddar cheese, cheese, easy pasta, easy slow cooker, macaroni
Cook Time 2 hours

Equipment

  • large slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups boiling water, plus extra as needed
  • 2 cans (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 2 cans (11 oz) condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 1 medium diced or sliced or pearl onions
  • 1 large sweet pepper, chopped or sliced
  • ½-1 pound bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 jalapenos seeded and minced (optional)

Instructions

  • Get out your ingredients and get everything measured.
    Slow Cooker Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese
  • Fry your bacon until crisp, remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Once drained, crumble it and place on another paper towel until needed.
    Slow Cooker Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese
  • Leave a few tablespoons of bacon grease and add your chopped onion. Stir until onions are tender.
    Slow Cooker Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese
  • Add peppers for a minute or so and then remove from heat and set aside.
    Slow Cooker Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese
  • Line your slow cooker with an aluminum foil collar and coat with cooking spray. If you need to take a moment to watch the video to see how to do this. Otherwise, you are basically just lining your slow cooker with tin foil until it comes up over the edge of your slow cooker. Your lid will sit inside the tin foil.
  • Prepare your boiling water while you are microwaving the pasta.
    Slow Cooker Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese
  • Microwave macaroni and oil in bowl at 50 percent power, stirring every minute, until macaroni begin to look toasted and blistered, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer hot macaroni to prepared slow cooker and immediately stir in 2¾ cups boiling water.
  • Stir in evaporated milk, condensed soup, cheddar, Monterey Jack, mustard, 1 teaspoon pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt.
    Slow Cooker Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese
  • Add bacon, onions and peppers.
    Slow Cooker Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese
  • Give everything a good stir trying not to puncture the tinfoil.
    Slow Cooker Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese
  • Cover and cook until macaroni are tender, 1 to 2 hours on high.
    Slow Cooker Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese
  • The first time you make this recipe in your slow cooker check your pasta and give it a quick stir at the 1 hour mark (I remove the lid with the spoon in my hand and while holding the lid give it a stir and leave a few noodles on the spoon and return the lid to the slow cooker). You don't want the lid off for any longer than you have to.
  • Allow pasta on your spoon to cool slightly, check your pasta for doneness and see if any salt, pepper or other seasonings are needed.
  • Decide how close your pasta is to being cooked, the way you prefer, and check slow cooker accordingly until cooked. I would not check any sooner than every 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • If you are serving from your slow cooker, gently stir remaining ¼ cup boiling water into macaroni until combined. You may want to add a little more boiling water or none at all. The decision is up to you. I always add it myself.
  • Macaroni can be held on warm or low setting for up to 30 minutes. Adjust consistency with extra boiling water as needed.
  • Once finished serving macaroni and cheese, grab the overhanging tinfoil, lift and dump any leftovers into an airtight container and into your fridge.
  • I hope you will take a moment to let me know what you thought of this recipe. Please take a look below at all of the variations you have when making this recipe and I urge you to try at least a few of them! I think you will be glad you did.

Notes

Recipe has been adapted from America's Test Kitchen 

Variations of Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

  • replace the type of pasta or noodles used instead of elbow macaroni try small shells, rotini, penne or corkscrew (cavatappi or cellentani) 
  • switch your cheeses around or try a new variety of cheese, instead of cheddar cheese and Colby or Monterey Jack, maybe a marble cheese, Mexican blend, or even some cream cheese or Velveeta or American cheese, remembering to shred the cheese yourself for the best results
  • switch up your proteins and instead of bacon add ham, or ground beef, ground pork, ground turkey, sausage either ground or sliced, and then there are leftovers, everything from roast beef to chicken to pulled pork, as long as it's cooked anything truly goes
  • add cooked crab, scallops or lobster 
  • add some hot sauce or sriracha or add a diced and seeded jalapeno or two 
  • cook some ground beef, pork or turkey with taco seasoning, just like you are going to make tacos, drain and add it to your macaroni and cheese with a Mexican blend of cheese that usually includes cheddar, asadero, Monterey Jack and Queso Quesadilla cheeses and some seasonings
  • add some leftover or rotisserie chicken and some buffalo wing sauce to your macaroni and cheese
  • try adding cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, or garlic to add a different flavor
  • add some salsa, chili (leftover or canned) or canned diced tomatoes, chopped fresh work too
  • garnish with green onions, chives or parsley 
  • sprinkle top with crumbs right before serving, my grandmother used to sprinkle some on top as she was serving it
  • with between 25 and 30 minutes left in the cooking time add some fresh broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or beans, afterall even picky eaters won't complain about vegetables covered in cheese
  • add some drained, canned corn, peas or beans at least 5 minutes before serving